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6 Best Chest Exercises for Women to Build Muscle

Chest exercises are just as important for women as for men. They help build muscle and strength. Here are the 6 best chest exercises to help you look and feel your best!

Sandra Adams
6 Best Chest Exercises for Women to Build Muscle
Table Of Contents

Meet Jane, a woman afraid to work on her chest muscles because she thought she'd look like the Incredible Hulk's sister. She was convinced she'd start growing muscles that would shame Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

But as her gym instructor pointed out, it was like trying to turn a poodle into a lion by giving it a bowl of protein powder. Jane just didn't have the proper biology to bulk up like that.

So she finally decided to give it a try and started doing push-ups. At first, it was like trying to move a boulder uphill with a toothpick. But she kept at it, and soon her chest was getting more substantial than her morning coffee.

A muscular and shapely chest is often seen as the hallmark of a fabulous physique. Women have been warned about the dangers of working out their chest muscles for years. The fear of developing bulky muscles has led many women to shy away from exercises that could help them achieve a solid and healthy upper body.

But the truth is women don't have the testosterone necessary to build big, bulky muscles. Sure, they can get strong - but they won't get huge. So if you're a woman who's been avoiding working out your chest because you're afraid of getting too big, it's time to put those fears to rest and start reaping the benefits of a muscular chest.

You will improve your posture, reduce your risk of injuries, boost your self-confidence, and look fabulous in that tank top or bikini.

This is why we have jotted down the critical 6 exercises you can perform at the gym or at home to boost your body's strength and appeal.

Why Should You Train Your Chest?

Women have often been told to avoid training their chest muscles, as it will make them look too masculine. But there are plenty of good reasons for women to work on building up their chest muscles, regardless of how it might affect their appearance.

For one thing, robust chest muscles can help improve posture and prevent back pain. Additionally, well-developed chest muscles can help reduce the risk of joint injuries, such as shoulder dislocation.

And, of course, a muscular chest can also make it easier to achieve a more flattering overall silhouette. So if you want to build strength and improve your health, there's no reason not to try chest training.

Benefits of Chest Exercises for Women

Benefits of Chest Exercises for Women

The chest contains pectoralis major and minor, which help you witness plenty of benefits. The primary benefit of working out on your chest is the building strength of your muscles.

There are multiple chest workouts for women, like downward dog, knee push-ups, incline bench presses, and more, to help you gain the required shape and benefits.

"People used to say that if women worked out, they would become masculine-looking or wouldn't be able to get pregnant. We just laughed because we knew they were wrong."

~ Abbye "Pudgy" Stockton: Women's Strength Pioneer

Helps Maintain Good Posture

Good posture is essential for maintaining a healthy spine and preventing pain. When you sit or stand straight, your muscles and ligaments can support your spine correctly. However, poor posture can lead to muscle strain, back pain, and other health problems.

Chest exercises are a great way to improve your posture. By strengthening the muscles in your chest, you will be better able to hold your shoulders back and maintain a straight spine. In addition, chest exercises can help balance the shoulder joint, improving your posture.

Improves Breathing

Most of us only think about breathing if we are short of breath. However, the way we breathe can have a significant impact on our overall health. For example, shallow breathing can contribute to anxiety and stress, while deep breathing is linked with relaxation.

One way to encourage deep breathing is to strengthen the muscles involved. The chest muscles, for example, play an essential role in breathing. By performing regular chest workouts, you can help ensure that these muscles are strong and healthy.

Enhances Overall Breast Appearance

Enhancing the appearance of your breast can be as easy as working out your chest muscles. Although it may seem counterintuitive, building muscle around your breast can lift and shape them.

In addition, chest exercises can help improve your posture, making your breasts appear even perkier. As a result, a regular chest workout can be an effective way to enhance the overall appearance of your breast.

Supports Your Entire Body

Building up the muscles in your chest gives you a nice appearance and supports your entire body. Lifting movements require the muscular strength of your chest, and this added strength is beneficial for daily activities.

In addition, chest muscles play a role in stabilizing your shoulder and protecting your upper body. Therefore, strengthening your chest muscles will help keep your entire body healthy.

6 Best Chest Exercises for Women

To start your chest training and develop the best possible physique, the following are some of the best chest workouts for women to help you gain the benefits and love your new strengthened self.

1. Renegade Rows

Renegade Rows

Renegade rows target the chest, arms, back, shoulders, legs, and abs. It is one of the best chest exercises for women since it has multiple benefits, like increasing stability and balance and building muscles in the middle and back.

Renegade rows can be done with and without dumbbells; to make it challenging, you can choose dumbbells.

To do it:

  • Begin the plank posture with hands on dumbbells under your shoulders and feet hip-distance apart.
  • Keep a solid and engaged core while you remove the weight from the floor and extend your elbow upwards.
  • Pause and return to the beginning posture.
  • Repeat on the other side.

2. Downward Dog

Downward Dog

Downward dog exercise is a convenient chest workout for women. It helps strengthen the upper body and promotes circulation. Along with maintaining a good chest appearance and building muscles, it also relieves stress and tension.

The downward dog pose is a yoga posture that stretches the entire body, particularly the hamstrings, calves, and back muscles. However, it's also an effective chest workout, strengthening the upper body and promoting circulation.

To do it:

  • Begin on your hands and knees on the yoga mat. Keep your shoulders above your wrists and your hips above your knees.
  • Put your toes under, straighten your legs and back, and relax your back and core.
  • Pull your hips back and push away with your arms while focusing on the core.
  • This is an upside-down, V-shaped position

3. Close Grip Bench Press

Downward Dog

Close grip bench press advances the traditional form of bench press with an extra effort by using a narrower grip for your muscles. This workout is beneficial for your chest as a secondary muscle.

This differentiates from the traditional bench press by locating your hands and elbows close to each other. In this way, it marks more pressure and importance to the chest and triceps.

This exercise can be performed by squeezing the dumbbells together and forming a close grip between your hands and elbows.

To do it:

  • Lie on the bench with your feet meeting the ground
  • Grip the barbell with your hands around the shoulders width apart
  • Support your braces and squeeze the shoulder blades together to stabilize your body
  • Then lower the bar slowly and bring it to your sternum
  • Keep your elbows close to put an impact on your chest, and don't arch your back
  • Repeat as tolerated

4. Dumbbell Bench Press

Downward Dog

The dumbbell bench press is a chest workout for women that is highly effective because it provides more excellent motion in your press. You can handle the motion of your arms sufficiently, and it secures the movements in front of your body rather than outwards.

To do it:

  • Lie flat on a bench and hold the dumbbells above your shoulders.
  • Lower then slowly, retracting your scaps together, stacking your wrist over your elbow when you reach the bottom position.
  • After holding the dumbbells, press them back up to starting position.

5. Barbell Bench Press

Downward Dog

Barbell bench press contains more weight, and any exercise with greater weight helps build strength and potential to form better ability. This workout is equally effective for the chest as it allows incredible stability, and the movements held on the chest level help to form the expected appearance of your chest.

To do it:

  • Lie flat on a bench and hold the barbell straight in line with your wrists.
  • Grab the barbell with an overhand grip and press them above your chest.
  • Lower the weight back down to your chest and repeat the reps.

These workouts are equally effective for chest workouts as they allow fantastic stability, and the movements held on the chest level help form the expected appearance of your chest.

6. Knee Push-Ups

Downward Dog

Knee push-ups are a healthy exercise to improve muscle building, especially for your chest. It works your upper body and helps build and strengthen muscles to the core. It helps give your chest, arms, and shoulders quality time and a more manageable approach.

To do it:

  • Take the position of the regular push-ups; just rest your lower body on the knees and keep your body straight.
  • Push your body towards the floor and lower your torso to one inch from the floor.
  • Pause and slowly raise your body upwards.


1. List some chest workouts that can be done with the at-home without equipment.

While many people think you need a gym membership and expensive equipment to get a good workout, that's not the case. You can do plenty of exercises at home without equipment to help you build strong, toned muscles.

For instance, pushups are a great way to work your chest and arms and can be done anywhere. If you're looking for a challenge, add tricep dips or close-grip pushups. Another effective chest exercise is the plank. This move works not only your chest but also your core and back. For an added challenge, try doing a plank with one arm raised.

2. What are some female chest workouts at home with dumbbells?

While most people associate working out with going to the gym, plenty of exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment.

For example, dumbbells are relatively inexpensive and can be used to target a variety of muscle groups, including the chest. Here are a few exercises that can be done at home with dumbbells to tone and shape the chest: Dumbbells flyes, dumbbell presses, and chest dips,

3. What are some back and chest workouts for ladies?

Building muscular chest and back muscles can help improve posture, reduce the risk of injuries, and make everyday tasks like carrying groceries or lifting a child easier. Here is a simple yet effective back and chest workout for ladies looking to add strength training to their workout routine.

Start by doing 10 push-ups, then rest for 30 seconds. Next, do 10 rows with dumbbells, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat the entire circuit three times. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of repetitions or add additional sets.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the journey to achieving a stronger, more defined chest shouldn't be daunting or challenging for women. Embracing these optimal chest exercises can play an integral part in boosting both your strength and confidence. Remember, consistency is key in any workout routine, so be patient and persistent. Don't overlook the importance of proper form and adequate rest between workouts, either. As you navigate this journey, may you find these exercises empowering, knowing that with each rep and set, you are working towards your fitness goals. Stay strong and keep pushing; your best self is on the other side of effort.

Article Sources

  • Schütz, Pascal, et al. ‘Chest Exercises: Movement and Loading of Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist Joints.’ Sports, vol. 10, no. 2, Jan. 2022, p. 19. PubMed Central,

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Sandra Adams

Hi, I'm Sandra Adams, a certified personal trainer and fitness blogger dedicated to helping women reach their health and wellness goals. With over a decade of experience in the fitness industry, I specialize in crafting effective, easy-to-follow workout routines that fit into even the busiest schedules. 

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